In early 2020, I decided to start my own YouTube channel to expand This Online World’s audience and to try something new.
I also wanted to give making money on YouTube a try, and boy, did things work out alright so far!
Now, don’t get me wrong: this has taken a lot of work.
I’ve published 29 videos so far this year, which took learning how to film, edit, and upload videos (probably over 200 hours of work so far).
As I mention in my post on blogging versus YouTube, I also ended up spending over $1,000 on my YouTube setup:
So, if you’re tight on cash and strapped for time, maybe you think YouTube isn’t for you.
At first glance, you might be right.
But what if there was a way to make money with YouTube without creating your own videos?
Well, I’ve actually seen a lot of people asking how to make money on youtube without making videos, so I thought I’d tackle this topic.
If you want to harness the full potential of YouTube to make money without creating your own videos, talking, or showing your face, this is the post for you!
Making Money On Youtube Without Making Videos – The Options
Alright, I’m going to get a bit creative throughout this article, but that’s just what we have to do to make YouTube work sometimes!
If you want to make money with this platform but don’t want to record, edit, or really sink a lot of time into being a creator, here are some options you can leverage.
1. Upload Videos With Creative Commons
Alright, time to talk about an incredibly important aspect of YouTube you need to understand if you want to make money without posting your own videos: the Creative Commons license.
According to Google, Creative Commons license gives “a standard way for content creators to grant someone else permission to use their work.”
So, in other words, if you find content that has this license, you can use parts (or all) of that video without the risk of a copyright strike.
This means you can take existing content and easily create montages, best-of videos, top 10s…you get the idea.
To find videos under the Creative Commons, just search for a topic you want to make a video for and use the filter feature to only show Creative Commons content:
Now, once you find some content, you can download the YouTube videos to a MP4 file and repurpose them into your own videos.
Yes, this technically requires some editing, but I still consider it a way to make money on YouTube without making videos since all the work is basically done…you just need to spend 5 minutes editing stuff.
If you’re annoyed at me for this loophole, I’m sorry, but this is seriously so low effort in comparison to making your own videos that I think it’s fair game.
Besides, you could do this for video game montages, famous movie scenes, top movie or fail compilations, or any number of ideas:
Now, YouTube states “You can monetize royalty-free or Creative Commons content if the license agreement grants you rights to use it commercially. Sometimes rights owners require you to credit the creator of the content or give proof of purchase to use it in your video for commercial purposes.”
So, this is probably a bit of a grey area, but I have stumbled across montage videos and other complations where ads run before and during the video…so you can make money with this.
Extra Reading – How To Make Money With Memes.
2. Offer YouTube Services On Fiverr
Alright, if you’re still wondering how to make money on YouTube without uploading videos and are annoyed by my first idea, this one is a bit more straightforward.
And no, these don’t require editing videos.
As you can see, a lot of these YouTube gigs involve:
- Researching new keywords and tags for YouTube.
- Conducting an overall SEO audit for someone’s channel.
- Creating and setting up entire channels.
- Organic YouTube promotion with free traffic sources.
- Creating YouTube thumbnails.
At the end of the day, YouTube is a business for a lot of creators. Chances are, some of them are willing to invest into growth.
I mean, I spend money on YouTube thumbnails all the time, and my channel just got started!
Obviously, some of these gigs are better suited for SEO nerds while some like channel setup and thumbnails require graphic design skills.
Whatever the case, if you’re a freelancer, you can sell your skills online if you know how to deliver value and pitch clients.
3. Upload Stream Highlights
When I was younger, I used to watch a decent amount of professional Starcraft 2.
Starcraft is a real-time strategy game that’s owned by Blizzard, and it’s absolutely fantastic in case you didn’t know! 😉
And, like other video games, a lot of Twitch streamers used to play and livestream the game to their audience.
Now, the curious thing is that Starcraft, and pretty much any other video game or sports stream, has a group of people who also record the streams and upload highlights (or entire streams) to YouTube.
This is a completely legit way to make money on YouTube without uploading your own videos.
You literally just record a stream, grab the hours it ran, and slap it onto YouTube. Boom.
People do this all the time for a variety of games, and again, all you have to do is edit out the down-time in between matches (or you can be lazy and upload the entire thing).
Again, this is technically still uploading, but it’s not your own video content and you could start a new channel about a particular streamer or game so easily and there’s no upfront cost really.
4. Outsource Video Production
This is honestly my ideal world for making money on YouTube without creating my own videos, although it will definitely take some growth to get there.
Like running a blog or other online business, more options open up as you make money.
For example, with This Online World, I currently outsource my Pinterest marketing and a lot of the content writing to free up more time.
You can apply the same logic to YouTube and use the money you’re making from a channel (or other side hustle) to create new videos without having to do any work.
Plus, all of this could be done through places like Fiverr or Reddit!
Here’s what I plan on doing for my channel in the future:
- I record myself talking to the camera about the video topic for the week.
- I upload it to Google Drive.
- An editor I work with edits the video and uploads it to YouTube.
- A graphic designer I work with creates the thumbnail.
- A SEO/keyword person I work with attaches the thumbnail, writes the descriptions/title, and hits publish.
Ahhh, the dream!
Now, is this really me making my own videos?
I’d argue it isn’t…I just have to talk to the camera! It’s basically a talkshow at that point!
Obviously, this route will probably require about $100-$200 per video at the bare minimum if I had to guess, but this is certainly attainable if you channel begins to pick up speed.
You could even take it a step further by hiring someone to write your script, hire a voice actor or whiteboard animator, and truly take the work off of your plate but this is more expensive.
5. Offer Coaching
Another way to make money on YouTube without uploading videos is to offer online coaching.
I’ve seen people offering this on Fiverr like other services, so that’s one way to start.
However, my friend Ben, who is a full-time YouTuber and podcaster, has actually been hired before to do YouTube and social media consulting.
Ben’s content is awesome, and the funny thing, people have reached out to him for paid coaching/consulting just because his channel shows he knows what he’s doing.
This is pretty common in any type of online business, but it’s a viable income stream nevertheless if you know what it takes to grow on YouTube.
Other Ways To Overcome YouTube Stumbling Blocks
So, I hope those five ideas help you make the most out of the behemoth that is YouTube!
However, I also wanted to tackle two other common hurdles I’ve heard that prevent people from starting their own YouTube channels.
How To Make Money On YouTube Without Showing Your Face
This is by far one of the most common reasons I’ve heard that prevents people from taking the plunge and trying to make money on YouTube.
The reality is that many genres of YouTube, like vlogs, reaction videos, music, and more involve showing your face.
This is sort of the nature of YouTube…it’s just a very intimate platform compared to other forms of media.
However, you can still find success on YouTube without showing your face.
Some ideas you can try include:
- Uploading compilations (as mentioned).
- Uploading music mixes or remixes (just be careful with copyright).
- Doing voice-over commentaries (some massive channels actually do this).
- Creating animated videos or whiteboard skits.
The music one is an interesting one for me because again, these people are just making hour long mixes, putting them up, and running Adsense ads without issues it seems.
Plus, you can seriously get creative here.
YouTuber and streamer Disguised Toast used to legitimately stream with this cardboard cutout of a piece of toast before he did a grand face reveal one day:
Disguised Toast is now over 3 million subscribers…yup.
You get the idea! Don’t ever think you have to show your face on YouTube to make it work!
How To Make Money On YouTube Without Talking?
Again, this is another common reason people have told me they don’t want to start a YouTube channel.
However, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a microphone or just don’t like the sound of your voice…you have options.
Again, compilations, music, and using the Creative Common license to your advantage is one way to get started.
You can also hire voice over actors from Fiverr for a cheap amount.
Finally, and hilariously, you can use text-to-speech software to read out your script (I’ve seen this done on a top 10 channel that gets millions of views and it’s awesome).
YouTube is a weird platform because it has the potential to change your life overnight with a single viral video.
However, for most content creators, finding success on YouTube is definitely a grind.
But that’s okay.
Good things in life are going to be tough. As long as you’re creative, you also don’t have to limit yourself to what everyone else is doing.
So, if you’ve been wondering how to make money on YouTube without making videos, I hope some of these ideas help get the ball rolling!
You still need to be consistent on YouTube to grow, and sometimes, you still need to do a tiny bit of editing just to get your channel going.
However, I don’t think you need to be another vlogger or typical YouTuber if that’s not what makes you happy.
Thanks so much for reading!
I’ll catch you guys in the next one!
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
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